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Ask Jillian Michaels: I want to exercise more, but it's so difficult for me to overcome my natural laziness. How do you stay motivated every day to work out?
Jillian Michaels In a new advice column for Insider, Jillian Michaels is answering reader questions on subjects like diet, exercise, and health. Jillian Michaels is a leading health and fitness expert, nutritionist, and author. Do you have a question for Jillian Michaels? Send them to Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Question: I want to exercise more, but it's so difficult for me to overcome my natural laziness. How do you stay motivated every day to work out? This has got to be the most common question I get: "How do I get or stay motivated?"  See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: I tried to eat healthily while ordering all my meals from food delivery apps for a week — here's what happenedSee Also:How to get Halle Berry's 6-pack abs without spending 4 hours a day at the gymHalle Berry's trainer reveals 6 exercises you can do at home to sculpt your abs and entire body7 unbelievable facts about Thanksgiving food consumption in the US
Business Insider
Of course big tech is tracking your WebMD visits
Information about our health is supposed to be sacred, but the internet has basically thrown that tenet of society out the window. A new report from the Financial Times has found that the extent to which consumer medical websites share data with internet advertisers like Google, Facebook, and others, is vast. The report specifically looked at UK websites, and there is no concrete indication that this is the case for the U.S. However, the revelation about health data's place in the advertising information ecosystem is still revealing no matter the country: When you search websites like WebMD, advertisers know about it and can use that data to build upon what they know about you, and sell you things. Read more...More about Google, Advertising, Privacy, Webmd, and Tech
UWS landlord caught on camera scuffling with NY1 reporter Michael Herzenberg, slugging another man
Mike Rose allegedly went berserk Tuesday night during an interview with reporter Michael Herzenberg, who probed him about the conditions at his property at 246 West 106th Street.
New York Post
How to turn off data roaming on your iPhone for international travel, or completely turn off cellular data
Crystal Cox/Business Insider It's a good idea to turn off data roaming on your iPhone if you want to avoid using data while traveling internationally. This will help you avoid roaming fees your carrier may charge while you're abroad. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. Data "roaming" is when your phone connects to a network that isn't owned by your wireless carrier so that you can continue receiving calls and using data.  And while this isn't an issue when traveling domestically, depending on your plan, it can be while you're abroad.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: Apple just released iOS 13.2 with 60 new emoji and emoji variations. Here's how everyday people submit their own emoji.See Also:How to activate an Apple Watch and set it up for use, with your iPhone nearbyHow to set up a Venmo account, connect it to your bank, and sync your contacts to easily send or receive moneyHow to text a GIF on your iPhone using the built-in GIF keyboard in Messages or a third-party appSEE ALSO: The best iPhone for every type of person and budget
Business Insider
House Oversight Committee Democrats To Examine Regulation Of Abortion Providers
The hearing will use Missouri, where the last remaining clinic that provides abortion could close over a dispute with health regulators, as a case study.
News : NPR
Twitter to introduce ‘Topics’ on Nov. 13
The feature will allow users to “follow” particular interests, and then show users top tweets related to the topic. Read more...More about Tech, Twitter, Mashable Video, Topics, and Social Media
Chrissy Teigen gave the best response to John Legend being ‘sexiest man alive’
The 40-year-old singer and "Voice" judge was recently crowned by "People." As such, Legend's wife, who has a large presence on Twitter, took to her account to give her thoughts on Legend's accomplishment. Read more...More about Entertainment, Mashable Video, Chrissy Teigen, John Legend, and Sexiest Man Alive
Board of Education member charged after teens partied in her Connecticut home
State police found more than 20 teenagers after a school dance in the woman's basement, many in possession of alcohol and marijuana.
NBC News - Breaking News & Top Stories - Latest World, US & Local News
Facebook bug secretly activates iPhone camera
The bug, on the most recent update of Facebook, appears to activate the camera once a photo or video is opened. Facebook is currently working to fix the issue. Read more...More about Tech, Facebook, Iphone, Smartphone, and Mashable Video
Sam Kerr’s signing is Step 1 in Chelsea shaking up women’s soccer
For the price of one crap men’s player, you can have the best women’s soccer team in the whole world. Sam Kerr signed for Chelsea on Wednesday, which is a big deal in and of itself. She has been the world’s most prolific scorer over the past three years, netting 105 goals in 127 appearances since the start of 2017. Kerr will also be the most expensive player ever signed by an English club. She made just over $300,000 from the Chicago Red Stars and Perth Glory in 2019, and the Red Stars were prepared to give her a six-figure raise to stick around under the league’s new financial rules. Her deal at Chelsea is reportedly in excess of $400,000, which is about the same as what Olympique Lyonnais pays Ballon d’Or winner Ada Hegerberg. We should take a moment to appreciate what she has done. Those of us who are familiar with Kerr and people who have never heard of her can get equal enjoyment out of a mixtape, so here’s six minutes of Kerr balling out. But Kerr’s signing is about a lot more than just one of the world’s best players signing for a new club. Chelsea has an opportunity to build the biggest women’s sports brand in the world, and if they’re smart, Kerr’s signing will only be the beginning of a huge push forward for the sport. I’m going to take a wild guess about the future: Chelsea signed Kerr because it believes it can change the hierarchy of women’s football. From a pure footballing perspective, Kerr could be the difference between Chelsea facing a difficult scrap with the teams at the top of the FA WSL and winning the league comfortably. The Blues sit on top of the table at the moment, and they’re managing that without a superstar striker. But Kerr and Chelsea’s goals are long term. The Blues didn’t qualify for the UEFA Champions League this season, but Kerr has her sights set on that competition. It is, for better or worse, one of the very few competitions on which female footballers are judged. Kerr’s record-setting performances in NWSL — which is stronger top-to-bottom than any European competition — didn’t impress awards voters. The league is apparently irrelevant in the eyes of the international soccer community, as evidenced by both Megan Rapinoe and Carli Lloyd being named the best players in the world by FIFA during seasons in which they performed poorly for their clubs. Australia struggled at the World Cup, robbing Kerr of a shot at any big individual awards. There won’t be another World Cup for four years, and the Matildas can’t go sign better players to help her out. For Kerr to prove to the world outside of the United States and Australia that she’s the best striker in the world, she needs to conquer the Champions League. We know Kerr cares about accolades, and from the outside she seemingly had better options. Among English clubs, Arsenal and Manchester City have had more success in the Champions League. Elsewhere in Europe, Wolfsburg, Barcelona and PSG all could be one or two players away from having a shot at beating Lyon this season. One reason why she might have chosen Chelsea is that the club convinced her that they are willing to take their investment in women’s soccer to the next level. There’s no reason why Lyon has to be the biggest women’s club in the world, nor why they should continue to be completely unchallenged by the world’s biggest men’s clubs. I would like you to just sit with this sentence and think about it for a minute: The highest paid women’s footballers in the world make a club salary of around $400,000 per year. To a club like Chelsea, that’s pocket change. The Blues are probably paying Danny Drinkwater more than that this year to piss off to Burnley, to say nothing of the £35 million transfer fee to sign him in the first place. Chelsea could sign 10 Sam Kerrs and not notice where the money went. Her salary is a rounding error to Chelsea. The same would be true for Arsenal, City, Tottenham, Liverpool and Manchester United. Lyon is currently 28th in revenue in men’s soccer, according to the Deloitte Money League report, with revenue roughly on par with Brighton and Hove Albion, who spent over £50 million in the transfer market this summer. At least a dozen English teams could viably have women’s squads as good as Lyon’s. Investment in women’s football would obviously be a move towards the future rather than to make money on right away. FA WSL attendance isn’t great, and sexism still permeates every facet of the game. But the league is starting to draw crowds of 20,000-plus for special events at big stadiums, and 77,768 showed up for a friendly between England and Germany at Wembley. This season’s title sponsorship with Barclays, worth more than £10 million over the next three seasons, was another big step forward. Chelsea is also not just an English club, but a global one, that spends a lot of money and energy on marketing all around the world. More than a billion people watched the 2019 women’s World Cup, with viewership more than double the previous edition of the tournament. There is money to be made in women’s soccer, especially for the first clubs to get their branding right. We can argue about exactly how much money there is to be made in women’s soccer, and where it tops out. Maybe you think the potential is actually pretty low. But Chelsea — and almost every big men’s club — has wasted hundred of millions of pounds on crap players who did nothing to help it win games or further its brand. I think we can all agree that having the most valuable women’s sports brand in the entire fucking world is more valuable to Chelsea than Danny Drinkwater. The Blues can have that in a year if they want. And once they have it, Chelsea could (and hopefully will) trigger an arms race among the clubs that have just as much spare cash lying around as they do. Kerr signing for Chelsea will truly be significant if it’s just the start. No matter what, she’ll make a positive impact on the sport and club even if Chelsea doesn’t invest, scoring a lot of goals and maybe even win the Ballon d’Or. But Chelsea has an opportunity to do something much bigger than that for a relatively small amount of money. I’m choosing to believe Kerr’s move to Chelsea is just one step in what will be a rapid progression for women’s club soccer.
Sports News, Scores and Fan Opinion Powered by 320 Sports Blogs
Elon Musk to build new Tesla Gigafactory in Berlin
The factory, made in Berlin in part due to Musk's fondness of German engineering, will build vehicles, batteries, and powertrains. Read more...More about Tech, Mashable Video, Tesla, Elon Musk, and Tesla Gigafactory
Celine Dion shares her favorite meal and what TV show she's binge-watching
Five-time Grammy winner Celine Dion is hitting the road after wrapping up her Las Vegas residency over the summer. The Courage World Tour marks the singer's first U.S. tour in more than a decade. "CBS This Morning" co-host Gayle King caught up with Dion in Cleveland and got rare backstage access at her show. Watch Dion's conversation with King Thursday, Nov. 14 on "CBS This Morning."
CBS News - Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video
Timeline of events that led to impeachment hearings
The impeachment inquiry centers on claims that President Donald Trump used US tax dollars as bait to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to open investigations that could damage former Vice President Joe Biden heading into the 2020 election.
This smart helmet will keep you safe on the road — Future Blink
Classon smart helmet uses cameras and an algorithm to detect cars approaching your blind spot. Read more...More about Tech, Transportation, Mashable Video, Bike Helmet, and Future Blink
Steph Curry teams up with Howard University
NBA Star Steph Curry teams up with Howard University student Otis Ferguson to fund golf program
Pretend you have the worst job with Facebook's content moderation quiz
If you've ever wanted to cosplay as an underpaid, mentally exhausted, trauma-exposed contract worker well then, oh boy, do we have some great news for you.  Everyone's favorite facilitator of hate speech, Facebook, announced a new quiz on Wednesday that provides an opportunity to briefly play as one of its tens of thousands of third-party content moderators.  Want to see what it's like to decide whether or not potentially problematic posts have a place on Facebook for the cut-rate pay of zero? Well then, step right up.  But before we get to the quiz, it's worth saying that the example posts were not generated out of thin air. A Facebook spokesperson confirmed to Mashable over email that, yes, the "examples are based on real posts, but anonymized to protect user privacy." Read more...More about Facebook, Content Moderation, Tech, and Social Media Companies
Amazon shipped 10.4 million smart speakers in Q3 2019, almost tripling Google
The global smart speaker market is on the upswing, according to Canalys, which released shipment estimates for the third quarter of 2019.
VentureBeat | Tech News That Matters
U.S. manufacturers group hacked by China, report says
National Association of Manufacturers, which lobbies for its U.S. companies, said it took "swift action" to secure its networks
CBS News - Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video
Brooklyn Diocese leader Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio accused of sex abuse
The Catholic bishop who heads the Diocese of Brooklyn and was named by the pope to investigate allegations of clergy sex abuse in upstate New York has now been accused of the same crimes. Bishop Nicholas DiMarzio repeatedly molested Mark Matzek, now 56, when he was an altar boy at St. Nicholas Church and a...
New York Post
Trump keeps contradicting the Pentagon about whatever it is the US is doing with Syria's oil
Evan Vucci/AP President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to claim that the US was "keeping the oil" in northern Syria, weeks after the US abruptly withdrew, and then deployed additional troops into the region to safeguard the natural resource. "So, we want to worry about our things," Trump added. "We're keeping the oil, we have the oil, the oil is secure, we left troops behind only for the oil." But Trump's sole justification for deploying US troops to Syria, taken at face-value, have conflicted with the Pentagon's. Trump's rhetoric and statements to "make a deal with an ExxonMobil ... to go in there" and "spread the wealth" have raised alarms with lawmakers and former diplomats. Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories. President Donald Trump on Wednesday continued to claim that the US was "keeping the oil" in northern Syria, weeks after the US abruptly withdrew, and then deployed additional troops into the region to safeguard the natural resource. "As you know, we've pulled back our troops quite a while ago, because I think it's time for us not to be worried about other people's borders," Trump said to reporters alongside Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan at the White House. "I want to worry about our borders."See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: We can thank the US military for the smelliest weapon in the worldSee Also:Trump plan to save Syria's oil is shaping up to be a public-relations dumpster fireUS diplomat says that Trump’s Syria policies fueled the ‘catastrophic sideshow’ that led to war crimes against US alliesFrench President Macron dunked on Trump for pulling out of Syria without telling his NATO alliesSEE ALSO: Trump used his Veterans Day speech to honor Gold Star families, even though he's publicly feuded with them
Business Insider
18 gifts every Disney dad will love — from a Disney+ subscription to a LEGO set of 'Steamboat Willie'
  Disney fans like nothing more than receiving Disney gifts. And dads are no different — in fact, they'd probably love Disney gifts the most because well, they're dads.  Here are 18 Disney gifts any dad would love from a Disney+ streaming subscription to an Enchanted Tiki Room silk shirt and a Mickey Mouse turntable. Looking for more gift ideas? Check out our holiday gift guides.  There are dads and then there are Disney dads. You know the type — the ones who'd rather be at Disneyland than anywhere else, the kind of man who can do a spot-on Mickey Mouse impression, the guy who would be thrilled to watch Fantasia for the 50th time. Being a Disney mom myself, I know the type well — they are my people. When you're one of these unapologetic Disney fans, there's nothing you'd like to receive more than a gift that pays homage to your obsession. Here are 18 pixie-dusted gifts to bestow upon your Disney dad for the holidays:A Disney+ subscription Alyssa Powell/Business Insider Subscribe for $6.99/month or $69.99/year Even though it's a gift for your dad, the entire family will enjoy a subscription to Disney+. It gives you unlimited access to movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, and 20th Century Fox, and costs just $6.99 a month or $69.99 a year after a free seven-day trial. Read everything there is to know about Disney+ over here. And if you need some binge-spiration, here are all the new movies available to stream. Disney Park tickets Disney Disneyland or Disney World park tickets Odds are that your dad has taken you to a Disney park at some point, so now's the time to give back. Pick up a pair of tickets for the two of you to enjoy, or get your whole family together for a big trip — complete with matching T-shirts. Or a more modern style ShopDisney Mickey Mouse Icon Band Ring by Rebecca Hook, $100 A fun take on a wedding band, this ring is made with durable sterling silver and cubic zirconia to create a subtle Mickey Mouse silhouette. See the rest of the story at Business InsiderSee Also:18 creative and unexpected gifts for 'Strangers Things' fans46 cool stocking stuffers you can get on Amazon for under $2040 thoughtful and fun tech gifts under $100
Business Insider
Gene Therapy Under Scrutiny
Panel Probes Teen's Death After Gene Therapy
CBS News - Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video
Google Is Basically Daring the US to Block Its Fitbit Deal
The company’s moves into health data will test how serious antitrust enforcers are about privacy issues.
Grubhub creates ‘task force’ amid complaints over bogus fees
Grubhub said it’s creating a “task force” to tackle complaints from restaurants that it charges bogus fees for phone calls that don’t result in food orders. After being threatened with legislation in the Big Apple, the food-delivery giant said in a letter to the New York City Council on Wednesday that it will create a...
New York Post
Three men charged in major drug ring bust: Country's largest seizure of carfentanil, police said
Police said it was the country's largest seizure of carfentanil, a synthetic opioid 100 times more potent than fentanyl.       
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Opinion: Warren is right. Her Medicare for All plan won't raise taxes on the middle class
It's no secret that I'm not a fan of Medicare for All. That's why I'm impressed that Senator Elizabeth Warren's campaign reached out to me to independently review her proposed financing plan for the program. Her numbers add up and her plan fully finances the program without imposing any new taxes on middle-class families. - RSS Channel
Florida student body president faces impeachment for Donald Trump Jr.'s $50K campus visit
Trump, Jr. and his girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle spoke at the University of Florida campus Oct. 10 for $50,000.       
USATODAY - News Top Stories
Ghost Recon Breakpoint’s stamina buff undermines the game’s survivalist promises
Ubisoft Latest patch still doesn’t do much to separate Breakpoint from The Division Continue reading…
John Rich celebrates Thanksgiving with a wild after-dinner tradition
The singer/songwriter tells Fox News he’s grateful for his family, his friends, and for the ability to chase down his wildest dreams right here in America.
Bronx woman allegedly trolls emergency services with 24K fake 911 calls
A kooky Bronx woman averaged more than 150 bogus calls to 911 per day as she harried the emergency line with tens of thousands of phony reports over the last five months, authorities said Wednesday. The 38-year-old chronic caller, Yogita Persaud, has allegedly made more than 24,000 calls for bogus emergencies since June — which...
New York Post
You can stay in a house featured on 'The Crown' that comes with a royally trained butler and a corgi afternoon tea
The Plum Guide You can stay in the Earl of Fitzroy this Christmas, a London home that was featured in season two of "The Crown." The stay will celebrate the third season of "The Crown," which drops on November 17 on Netflix. Guests will have access to a royally trained butler, an afternoon tea with actual corgis, and a private tour of the State Rooms at Buckingham Palace as part of their package. The home is available for rentals for the entire month of December through the luxury home rental site Plum Guide. Guests must stay for a minimum of one week to secure the house. The stay and amenities cost $64,000 per week. You can find out more about the Earl of Fitzroy on Plum Guide. Visit Insider's homepage for more stories. Fans of "The Crown" can get a taste of what it's like to live as a royal this Christmas. The Earl of Fitzroy, a home featured on season two of the Netflix drama, is available for stay during the month of December through Plum Guide, a London-based luxury home-stay service.See the rest of the story at Business InsiderNOW WATCH: 41 of the wildest hotels, Airbnbs, and places to spend the nightSee Also:The 10 most shocking travel stories of 2019I stayed in a 182-square-foot room on the world's largest cruise ship, where no space was left unused. Here's what it's like inside.Keens is one of New York's oldest steakhouses, but its most famous dish isn't beef
Business Insider
News or ‘Trauma Porn’? Student Journalists Face Blowback on Campus
Incidents at Northwestern and Harvard reveal a growing tension between traditional journalistic practices and the demands of student activists.
NYT > Home Page
6 predictions on where European tech is headed in 2020, according to experts
2020 is set to be a defining year for European tech. While startups and scaleups have been supported over the years through a number of EU-based programs, newly elected European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen has made achieving technological sovereignty a rallying cry for more globally competitive European tech brands.  This shift is heating up Europe’s focus on the promise its hot young scaleups can bring. But what will define the ‘Made in Europe’ tech brand, and how can it compete against the Facebooks and Googles of the world? To find out, I attended this year’s EIT Digital Challenge… This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web | International technology news, business & culture
​Taylor: Trump felt "wronged" by Ukrainians and felt they "owed" him
William Taylor, the top U.S. diplomat in Ukraine, said Wednesday that President Trump felt "wronged" by Ukrainians over the 2016 election, and believed they "owed" him investigations into the Bidens and Burisma. Taylor said he came to believe this following a discussion with the U.S. delegation to President Zelensky's inauguration in May.
CBS News - Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video
Anne-Marie Green
CBS News Correspondent
CBS News - Breaking News, U.S., World, Business, Entertainment & Video
Texas homeowners can kill ‘invasive’ ducks on their properties: officials
Residents of one Texas city aren’t allowed to feed the ducks — but they can kill them. The city of Pearland has been overrun by aggressive Muscovy ducks, known for their red faces, leading local leaders to inform the public that they can use deadly means to deal with the birds because they are an...
New York Post
Rep. Jordan chides diplomat on quid pro quo claims: ‘Your clear understanding was obviously wrong’
Republican Rep. Jim Jordan led some of the toughest questioning during Wednesday's impeachment hearing, challenging Ukraine ambassador William Taylor over his claims that he understood President Trump to be holding up aid and more as he sought to pressure Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky to announce a Biden-related probe. 
The insane timing of Christopher Johnson’s commitment to Adam Gase
Why now, Christopher Johnson? Why announce that Adam Gase will be your head coach in 2020 now? More than anyone else, it is Sam Darnold who has saved Adam Gase. Darnold told The Post Sunday after beating the Giants that he wanted Gase to guide and develop him next season. He has gotten his wish....
New York Post
Nets sign Iman Shumpert amid growing Caris LeVert concern
DENVER — Caris LeVert’s thumb injury is serious enough that the Nets have sent him for further evaluation, and added more wing depth just in case. Brooklyn added free agent guard Iman Shumpert as the 16th player on the roster, a spot opened by Wilson Chandler’s PED suspension. The move was first reported by ESPN...
New York Post
Trump meets with Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, claims Kurds ceasefire is holding
President Trump Wednesday said Turkey is keeping ISIS in check and the ceasefire with the Kurds is “holding very well.” In an Oval Office meeting with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan of Turkey, Trump thanked Turkey for the job they are doing at the border and said the Kurds seem “very satisfied.” “Turkey is watching the...
New York Post
Candidate calamities: who has incited the biggest controversy?
As Tories, Labour and Lib Dems finalise their list of candidates, here are the furores so far The major parties have been dogged by controversies about their candidates before nomination papers have even been submitted. Allegations of racism and sexism have abounded, leading to several to withdraw and/or apologise. Others have been the subject of rows over their selection or accusations of cronyism. As the final list of candidates prepare to hand in their papers by 4pm on Thursday, these are the biggest furores so far: Continue reading...
US news | The Guardian
Apple Music Replay lets you see and share your listening habits
Image: Apple Music Apple Music is introducing a fun new way to take a look at your listening history from over the past year. Called Apple Music Replay, the new feature will bundle up everything you’ve played in 2019, allowing you to see things like how many albums your music selections came from, or which top songs you had on repeat. To use Apple Music Replay, head on over to and click on “Get Your Replay Mix.” It will then generate a playlist with your most played songs from 2019, along with additional playlists for every year you’ve subscribed to Apple Music. So, you could indulge in recent nostalgia or dip back to revisit your favorite tracks from other years. Image: Apple Music Along with the playlists,... Continue reading…
The Verge
FCC leaks the new Moto RAZR, including several new details
Just a few hours before Motorola‘s event tonight, we’re getting our clearest look at the new RAZR phone yet. Moreover, we know this leak is the real deal: it comes via the FCC, which seems to have jumped the gun on making the phone‘s listing public. There’s a lot to peruse through, and much of it we already knew, but the documents do reveal a few facts about the phone. The phone looks pretty much identical to the leaks we’ve so far, though those have typically been marketing renders and the like. That said, we do at least get to… This story continues at The Next Web
The Next Web | International technology news, business & culture
Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi tell intense story of playing for Russian spy due to low WNBA wages
This story about Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird in Russia needs to be heard to be believed. The WNBA stars’ time playing under a Russian spy underscores the WNBA’s pay problem. As a result of how poorly women are paid to play basketball in America, most of the best professional basketball players in the world head overseas after their WNBA seasons end. Athletes can only profit off their talents for so long and need to maximize earnings while their bodies are at their peak. The maximum salary in the W was just $117,500 for the 2019 season. In Russia, China, and Turkey among other countries in Europe and Asia, players can make 10 times that amount. The circumstances abroad are crappy for most. American players are typically unfamiliar with the countries they’re living in, rarely speak the native language, and often need translators to communicate with teammates and coaches. They’re usually without friends and have to leave their families for months at a time. And for Sue Bird and Diana Taurasi, it meant playing for a KGB spy-turned Russian billionaire businessman. In an ESPN 30 for 30 podcast, Bird and Taurasi detailed their experience and complicated feelings towards Shabtai Kalmanovich. From a financial standpoint, he was everything the pair wished existed at home. Kalmanovich treated Taurasi and Bird like royalty, and had a real love for women’s basketball. He spoiled the hell out of them, paid them multiple-times their American salaries, and gave reason for them to want to return to Moscow each year. For the first time since they were stars at the University of Connecticut, Bird and Taurasi were treated like the best athletes in the world. Kalmanovich gave Taurasi and Bird the best sides of himself, but they knew there was another. “He wore two hats,” Bird said. Kalmanovich was a Russian spy for 17 years as he became a wealthy business man by exploiting cheap labor in South Africa. He was eventually caught for passing forged checks to the U.S. while in England, then was extradited to America, and sent to Israel, where he was arrested for espionage. He served five years in prison, was released, then re-located back to Russia where he grew as a businessman, including becoming the general manager for the Spartak Moscow basketball team. That’s where Taurasi and Bird starred for four consecutive EuroLeague championships, until one day in 2009, Kalmanovich was murdered in a contract-style hit. Kalmanovich’s pitch to sign Taurasi and Bird was something women’s basketball players can only dream of getting in the U.S. “The only reason you go [to Russia] is for money,” Taurasi said. “That is the only reason you leave your country to go to a different country to play basketball.” That’s exactly what Kalmanovich provided, and then some. While playing for another Russian team, Dynamo Kursk, Bird and Taurasi met with Kalmanovich for the first time in 2006. It was Taurasi’s first season in Russia, and she’d sworn off ever returning after feuding with the head coach. “You don’t know Russia the way I can show you Russia,” Bird recalled Kalmanovich saying. And he was right. Kalmanovich was very well-connected, so much so that during the meeting, he dialed the phone and had an Israeli passport made for Bird as a loophole to a EuroLeague rule that prevented teams from signing more than two American players. (He’d later sign Tina Thompson.) Then, Kalmanovich outlined contracts for Bird and Taurasi who, depending on bonuses, could make between $400,000 and $1 million. For the first time in their lives, this was a life-changing money offer. And it didnt stop there. When the team traveled, Kalmanovich put his players in the best hotels. They recalled a time when a commercial flight was set to leave during the team’s game, and Kalmanovich called to have it moved back so his team could make it. Bird and Taurasi were provided a mini mansion with a pool and sauna to live in. He also left them his credit card to use how they pleased. “Well now I can put up with Russia,” Taurasi said. Adjusting to basketball in America again was hard for Taurasi and Bird The Spartak Moscow team was really, really good. Taurasi and Bird won four EuroLeague titles (the best league in the region), and two Russian premier league titles. They were paid well, kept well, and treated like a men’s athletics star. But that was only for half the year. Then they played four months in the WNBA, where they’d hardly make six figures and travel in crappy conditions. “You get back to the WNBA and you’re lugging your shit around, getting on a terrible American Airlines flight at 4:45 a.m.,” Taurasi said. The league prohibits charter flights, and younger players double-up in hotel rooms. The pay disparity and treatment between men and women basketball players is drastic. This past WNBA season, Taurasi voiced her anger, saying, “We had to go to a communist country to get paid like capitalists, which is so backward to everything that was in the history books in sixth grade.” Moscow may have been freezing and snowing. Taurasi and Bird may not have spoken the language. And Kalmanovich, no matter how friendly and warm he was to them, may have had a secret, dark past, but at least they were making money they could live for a long time on. “I think about what I have in my life now from a financial standpoint, and it’s in large part due to Shabs,” Bird said. “It’s just this one person who took an interest in women’s basketball, but what would my life be without that? I can retire and be fine, and not a lot of people can say that at 38.” This podcast was about more than Bird, Taurasi and Kalmanovich. It’s about how women athletes are treated in America Kalmanovich was murdered outside the Kremlin during the 2009 season. Nobody was ever charged for his murder, though it was concluded that this was a professional hit. It likely happened as a result of a business disagreement. This was his other hat. Bird was rehabbing an injury in America at the time, but Taurasi was there, and attended his funeral. Kalmanovich’s wife met with Taurasi, and admitted she could no longer promise her the lofty salary Shabtai did, and gave her the option to play elsewhere. Taurasi opted to stay and play for free. Bird returned, and the duo won one last championship. “[Kalmanovich] viewed us as performers and entertainers and wanted to share our talents with the world,” Bird said. “He was allowing us to have a career and make money doing it. You’re able to take that home, and have a life.” “He made everything bigger than life,” Taurasi said. “And at the time, women’s basketball needed someone to make it bigger than life.” Those are statements made by American women about an ex-KGB spy. They’re no dummies. Taurasi and Bird were fully aware that Kalmanovich wasn’t the warm, helpful man he presented himself as. Taurasi noted that each team the team flew, there was a guy in a black SUV with a suitcase waiting for him. “We saw one side of Shabtai,” Taurasi said. “We knew there was another side.” But Kalmanovich cared about the women’s game enough to invest in it, provide for it, and as a result, got two of the best players of all time to want to fly halfway across the world and play for his team. They loved playing in Moscow. They welcomed Kalmanovich like a father, and ate meals at his house. This is where they felt most respected. In the current WNBA, players are making threats to not return. Brittney Griner foreshadowed an early retirement because she doesn’t feel the league protects her. Australian star Liz Cambage threatened to sit the season if she wasn’t traded. Taurasi herself, in 2015, skipped the WNBA season because her Russian team, UMMC Ekaterinburg, paid her more to rest. Change might be coming. The league and the players’ union are currently negotiating for a new Collective Bargaining Agreement that may improve financial and travel conditions. But that’s a work in progress. Taurasi and Bird’s final statements were striking To conclude the podcast, the host asked Taurasi and Bird one final question: “If [Kalmanovich] were a mafia figure, what would that mean for you as a player?” Bird’s response was reasoned: If you presented me with facts that he was out there murdering people, that would be hard to detach from. It would be hard because he did mean so much to us in all these other ways, and we never saw that ever. Taurasi’s response is crushing: I can only go from how he treated me. I can only go on the basis of how he helped my career. And that’s easy for me to say, right, because he did nothing but help me. Would it be ignorant for me to be like ‘Oh it wouldn’t change my perception at all?’ I don’t know? I don’t know if it would, to tell you the truth. The good person in me say ‘Yeah of course it would.’ I should feel different. I don’t know if I would though. I really don’t.
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